The Return of Stuff Happens, week 15: O’Leary out; the return of softwood lumber

Just as Conservatives across the country were about to begin voting for their next leader, one of the front runners threw a wrench into the works.

Kevin O’Leary, the bombastic TV star (sort of a hairless, much smarter Donald Trump), pulled out of the race, causing a collective jaw drop amongst the Canadian political elite and talking heads. O’Leary, the only recognizable face in a ludicrously overcrowded race, was almost certain to be the early leader in the voting, and a decent bet to the the winner. Speaking to the media about his decision on Wednesday, O’Leary said some shockingly honest things. While he was confident that he could win the Conservative leadership (possibly true), his numbers showed that there was no path to federal victory for the Conservatives with O’Leary at the helm, because he had virtually no support in Quebec (completely true). He said he waited until the last minute to see if “the needle would move” in his Quebec support, but it didn’t.

He is absolutely right. O’Leary could have — and probably would have — won the Conservative leadership, but there wasn’t a single hope in hell that he would become prime minister without being able to communicate with 22% of the population that speaks French. Why it took him this long to come to that obvious realization, I don’t know. Maybe he looked at the agonies of Donald Trump and figured that leaving his cushy lifestyle for the grubby world of politics wasn’t worth it. Or maybe the idea of living full-time in Canada, instead of spending at least half his time in the U.S., wasn’t appealing.  Or maybe it was the pay cut he would have to take. Whatever the reasons, he was smart to quit. He could not become the next prime minister, and playing second fiddle to Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons was just too repulsive to contemplate. Anyway, O’Leary threw his support behind Maxime Bernier, a far right libertarian MP. Bernier was a contender from the beginning, but now he must be seen as the frontrunner. He’s too radical (abolish the CBC, etc.), and too French (his English is worse than Jean Chretien’s), but he is popular with the Western right wing of the party. He might win the Conservative leadership, but in a federal election he will be a loser, just like O’Leary would have been. Only Bernier doesn’t know it.

NAFTA and lumber and … zzzzzzzz

Few issues are more boring than trade matters, but attention must be paid since billions of dollars are at stake. So, here we go.

This week, Donald Trump threatened to immediately pull out of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA is a very big deal in trade circles, and even tinkering with it gives Canada and Mexico palpitations. Trump has said repeatedly that NAFTA was a horrible, horrible, bad, bad, very very bad deal for the U.S. (without even once articulating one single example of how it was bad), and that nice guy Canada snookered the U.S., which is untrue of course, but fun to contemplate.

After Trump threatened to sign an executive order to pull out of NAFTA (he said in an interview today that he was going to sign the order on Saturday, his 100th day in office). Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto both called Trump, and he supposedly changed his mind. It was probably a bluff by Trump to get Canada and Mexico on board with renegotiating the deal, since cancelling NAFTA would result in an economic earthquake for all of North America, and even Trump isn’t stupid enough to do that. But who knows?

Also this week in trade (stay with me here, it’s almost over), the Trump administration slapped hefty duties on Canadian softwood lumber coming into the U.S. If the term ‘softwood lumber’ sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because this is the FIFTH go round for this dispute. The U.S. (or more accurately, the American lumber industry) says Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized by the government. Canada says this isn’t true, and the Canadian government has won international court challenges on the issue. But the U.S. lumber industry just keeps resurrecting the issue. It’s all insanely complicated, but from my reading of the issue, the continuing spat is a way for the U.S. lumber industry to raise prices, and profits, by making lumber more expensive. This in turn would result in higher home building costs in the U.S., but clearly nobody cares about the consumer. As in all the previous times this phoney has been raised, some sort of deal is ironed out, and everybody forgets about it until the next time.

RIP

Jonathan Demme, 73, acclaimed, Oscar-winning American movie director (Melvin and Howard, Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs, the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, Rachael Getting Married).

Advertisements

The Return of Stuff Happens, week 14: Trump casts his lizard eyes on Canada; I solve the Toronto housing crisis

This week in Donald Trump Land:

  • Remember last week, when Donald Trump sent an “armada” (actually just an aircraft carrier) towards North Korea as a warning to the maniac kingdom? But the New York Times, thanks to a photo send out from the ship, realized that the ship was actually steaming away from North Korea, not towards it. Trump, of course, blamed the military for bad information. It could also be that his administration just told another random lie, believing that no one would know.
  • Remember Donald Trump’s inauguration, the greatest of all time? Turns out, these things cost money to stage, and a lot of that money comes from private donors. The Times, again, looked through the list of people and corporations who donated to the event, to the tune of $107 million. Big surprise —  much of it came from multi-billionaires and major corporations looking to gain favour with Trump.
  • Trump has taken aim at a new evil — the Canadian dairy industry, which he says is treating the American dairy industry very, very badly. This came as quite a shock to the Trudeau government, which was sitting quietly in the back of the class while Professor Trump was rapping the knuckles of all the naughty countries sitting in the front. Trump unexpectedly said that what Canada had done to the U.S. dairy industry was a “disgrace” and “very unfair”. This broadside came after Trump heard complaints from Wisconsin dairy farmers; he certainly forgot the details seconds later. Canada, as you may know, has a carefully regulated market, restricting supply and ensuring higher costs for the consumer and healthy profits for farmers. The U.S. does not, and as a result the U.S. is awash in milk, and they want to start sending it to Canada, particularly something called ultra-filtered milk. But Canadian dairy farmers (and the government, which of course wants the support of the dairy industry, which is centred in Ontario and Quebec) said thanks, but no thanks, basically closing Canada to U.S. ultra-filtered milk . And with that, reader(s), you know more about the dairy industries in Canada and the U.S. than Donald Trump.
  • And finally, Trump had a few friends over for dinner the other night. Faded rocker Kid Rock, guitar god and gun maniac Ted Nugent (who once called Barack Obama a “mongrel”), and certifiable loon Sarah Palin. Nugent said Trump spent FOUR HOURS with the group, showing them around the While House and treating them to a fancy schmancy dinner. Turns out, Palin was the one invited to dinner, and she brought along Mr. Nugent and Mr. Rock. (You would have thought she would have brought her husband, Trig or Tag or Trog or whatever his name is.) On her web page, she wrote that she brought along Nugent and Rock “because Jesus was booked.” Personally, I think Jesus probably just came up with an excuse.

Attention, Toronto house buyers …

House prices are going insane in Toronto, as has the Toronto media, which is obsessed over the issue. House prices have gone up more than 33% year to year, resulting in average house prices of more than $1.6 million. The government is taking various measures to cool the market, including a tax on offshore, absentee owners, much like they did with some success in Vancouver.

I have some advice for anyone who wants to buy a house in Toronto.

DON’T BUY A HOUSE RIGHT NOW!

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? The prices are artificially inflated, wildly out of whack. A buyer today is unlikely to ever get their money back, and will certainly be saddled with ludicrous amounts of debt. The simple solution: don’t buy. Wait. Or if you really want a house, go to Hamilton. There are worse places to live. I think.

In other news …

Turkish voters voted in a referendum to change the country from a parliamentary democracy to strong presidential system of government. This gives lots more power to the nearly dictatorial President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The referendum lets Erdogan stay in power until 2029 … British Prime Minister Theresa May stunned everyone by calling a June election, years ahead of schedule. Right now, it appears her Conservative party will win by historic margins, with some predicting the Labour Party will be essentially wiped off the map. Then again, everyone said Donald Trump would never be president, so stay tuned … France held the first round of its election today, and the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, will go onto the second round of the playoffs – sorry, election (got the Oilers on my mind right now). Le Pen is anti-immigrant and anti-Euro. She is a sort of French Donald Trump, except by all accounts she is a spellbinding speaker and intelligent.

RIP

Aaron Hernandez, 27, former New England Patriot whose promising career went a little off the rails when he was convicted of murder. He committed suicide in prison … Erin Moran, 56, who played little sister Joanie on Happy Days, and the same character on the mercifully short-lived Joanie Loves Chachi. Life did not go well for Moran post-Happy Days. She married and divorced twice and battled depression, This year, Variety reported that she was “reportedly kicked out of her trailer park home in Indiana because of her hard-partying ways”. And that is one unhappy ending.

 

The Return of Stuff Happens, week 13: Dumb, dumber, dumbest

Remember last week, when Pepsi was eviscerated for its incredibly tone-deaf ‘Pepsi brings world peace’ ad? Ah, such innocent times.

This week, United Airlines made the Pepsi debacle look no worse than a misplaced apostrophe. By now, you’ve seen or almost certainly heard about the violent removal of passenger from a United flight in Chicago. Dr. David Dao was asked to leave the overbooked United flight to make room for a Very Important Passenger — a United employee. (Hey, who’s more important – a United Airlines employee who flies anywhere for free, or a paying customer who also happens to be a doctor? Tough call.) When Dr. Dao’s name was randomly selected to leave the plane who no one else took up the $800 bribe to give up a seat, he objected in firm but not belligerent terms. Some United idiot called the cops to have him removed, and when told to get off the plane, he told the cops they would have to arrest him before he’d leave the plane. You know the rest. The doctor suffered a concussion, a broken nose and two broken teeth when he was removed from the plane in the most humiliating manner possible. The multiple millions of dollars he will win in a lawsuit should sooth the injuries.

The depth of the stupidity of everyone involved here is difficult to comprehend. Somebody at United should have had the common sense to just call the whole thing off and let the employee take another flight, or upped the offer to get another passenger leave the plane. But common sense is apparently not a prerequisite for working at United. The whole sad spectacle was recorded (of course it was), and shared around the world.

So United faced a PR fiasco — which the president of the company proceeded to turn into a full-scale, Hurricane Katrina-scale shitstorm. He issued a half-assed apology, and defended his employees. United is already a roundly despised company (a Bloomberg report in 2015 put United at no. 15 on the list of 20 most hated companies), but this scandal put it in Wal-Mart’s league. Shares plummeted, and it took two days before the CEO did a full-scale, fall-on-his-sword mea culpa on ABC News.

It’s difficult to say just how much this debacle will cost United, but it’s safe to say that it is in the millions of dollars, and what is left of its reputation is in tatters. Thanks to a series of mind-numbing gaffes — from the flight crew right to the CEO — United has become the new byword for corporate incompetence and complete indifference to its customers.

And speaking of incompetents …

I have some sympathy for Sean Spicer, press secretary for the insane clown president Donald Trump. I suppose there are worse jobs — press spokesman for United Airlines, or maybe Kim Jong-un — but not many. Every day, he has to defend the latest loopy pronouncement from his erratic and clearly clueless boss. But this poor stumble bum put his own foot in it this week.

In a discussion about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Spicer actually said: “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Oh. My. God.

I don’t like to think of anyone, especially someone in a position of being in authority, as being stupid. I don’t believe it’s possible for the truly stupid to get anywhere in the world. But Sean Spider is just plain stupid. In years past, the press secretary to the president was a coveted (if extremely stressful) job. With Trump as president, I suspect the list of people who actually want the job begins and ends with Sean Spicer. And he’s too stupid to turn it down. (Here’s another classic example. In February, Spicer retweeted a video from the spoof news site The Onion, that read: “@SeanSpicer’s role in the Trump administration will be to provide the American public with robust and clearly articulated misinformation.” Spicer accompanied his retweet with the words: “You nailed it. Period!”)

Spicer ended up apologizing for this gas gaffe. At this stage of what’s left of his career, Spicer should just have an apology template available to hand out to the media after each press briefing: “I apologize without reservation for saying (fill in gaffe here). I did not intend to offend (fill in name of offended group here), nor did I intend to suggest that (fill in impossible to defend statement.)”

And now, for dumb stuff from Canada

Let’s begin in Calgary, where a six-year-old, autistic Grade 1 student was forced to eat his daily snack outside the classroom because only healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are allowed for snacks.

What was the offending snack? What was so heinous that he had to eat it in the hallway, so as not to offend the other Grade 1 kids? Was it a baggie of Froot Loops? Skittles washed down with a Slurpee? Sugar cubes smothered in honey?

No. It was banana bread. Yes, banana bread.

Good thinking, Grade 1 teacher — shame a six-year-old autistic kid for eating banana bread. The newspaper reports did not identify the school, but I can only assume it was a school that hires exclusively idiots. Maybe he or she works at Sean Spicer Elementary.

And here’s another. Did you hear about the civil servant who removed a child from his foster home because of the Easter Bunny?

A Christian couple says two foster children were removed from their home and their eligibility as foster parents cancelled by the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society because they refused to say the Easter Bunny was real.

“We have a no-lying policy,” foster father Derek Baars said in an interview.

According to the foster parents, a Children’s Aid Society worker told them they were “required” to affirm the existence of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus because they are an essential part of Canadian culture. Another essential part of Canadian culture — bureaucrats who are too stupid to get real jobs.

And in other news …

The United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in history on Afghanistan this week, killing nearly 100. The target was an ISIL underground compound. The bomb is called a MOAB, which actually stands for Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, but naturally became know as the Mother of All Bombs. Trump gave approval for dropping the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan because he mistakenly thought the bomb was that lousy movie with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, “what’s it called … Giggling, Gigli or something?”

RIP

J. Geils, 71, guitarist and band leader of the J. Geils Band, responsible for some of the most infuriatingly catchy pop tunes of the 1980s, “Centrefold”, “Freeze Frame” and “Love Stinks”. After the band broke up, he made jazz recordings, including some with Edmonton’s Stony Plain Records … Dorothy Mengering, 95, mother of David Letterman who made frequent appearances on his late night show …  Mohammad Khoramshahi, 105, Iranian joke writer and poet. I included this only because I find it hard to believe that there has ever been an Iranian joke writer … Emma Morano, who at 117 was the world’s older person and believe to be the last person on earth born in the 19th century. Life is just not fair.

The Return of Stuff Happens, week 12: BULLETIN: Trump does right thing; world reacts with shock

I guess it was bound to happen — Donald Trump actually did the right thing this week. I never thought we would see the day,  but as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

On Thursday, Trump actually looked decisive and — dare I say it? — presidential.

This week, the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on his own people that killed more than 70, many of them children who died horrible deaths. The use of gas is in gross violation of the rules of law and basic human decency, but the rules clearly don’t apply in Syria anymore, which is into its SEVENTH year of a civil war. The images of dead children were apparently the last straw for Trump. On Thursday, Trump took the advice of his security council experts and hit the Syrian base from where the chemical attack was launched with 57 cruise missile strikes.

Why did Assad use chemical weapons? Assad is a member of the Evil Rulers Club (president: V.Putin, vice-president K. Jong-un), as as such has no morals or scruples. But was he just trolling Trump to do something? Assad has the support of his cohort in evil, Putin, so did he just assume that Trump wouldn’t do anything with Putin in his corner? If so, he miscalculated.

Trump had previously said — repeatedly, in fact — that the U.S. should not get involved in Syria. That he would reverse himself should come as no surprise; it’s what he does. But by going it alone, Trump has sent multiple messages. He has told Assad that he’s willing to do something while others just wring their hands. He has told Putin that he’s willing to go against Russia in a high-stakes game of chicken. He has sent a subtle message to North Korea that he just might be willing to lob a few cruise missiles towards their nuke sites if they don’t shape up. And he sent a message, as if one was needed, that he’s no Barack Obama, who threatened Syria with retaliation the last time they used chemical weapons — but never used them.

Nobody knows how this will play out, but for once, Trump seems to have done the right thing. And I never thought I would write those words.

NHL does the wrong thing

While it comes as a shock that Donald Trump did the right thing, it comes as no shock at all that the National Hockey League did the wrong thing this week.

The NHL, which is hands down the worst run major sports organization in North America, announced it would not participate in next year’s Winter Olympics. I don’t know exactly why (just a wild guess … something to do with money), but denying the best hockey players in the world the privilege of playing for their country tells the players they are nothing but indentured servants. (Sure, they are very well compensated servants, but servants nonetheless.) Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin says he’s going anyway. “Somebody going to tell me don’t go?” he said. “I don’t care. I just go.” Well, we shall see. Ovechkin makes $10 million a year, and something tells me the Capitals will not be happy if their $10 million best player goes AWOL for two weeks next year.

The Winter Olympics is the only real opportunity for the best hockey players in the world to face off in one thrilling tournament (and yes, I know there was a World Cup of Hockey this year, but nobody cared). That this league of predominantly American billionaires would deny hockey fans in Canada, the U.S., Russia, Sweden, Finland, etc. the opportunity to see the best in the world go skate-to-stake is infuriating. But that’s the NHL for you. (Speaking of the NHL, here’s a reminder for Oiler fans: remember that the rules change in the playoffs. Penalties that would have been called in the regular season aren’t called in the playoffs, so watch out, Connor McDavid.)

And just for comedic value

Pepsi took it on the chin this week when it released — then immediately took out of circulation — this absolutely hilariously awful commercial. 

If you haven’t seen or heard of it, here’s a brief rundown.

imgres-1
Kendall Jenner brings peace to the world with a can of Pepsi. Brings tears to my eyes.

A large group of 18-25 year old beautiful people are holding a mass protest, about what is rather vague, although some are holding signs that say ‘Peace’. Meanwhile, a Muslim woman, who is a photographer, is show tearing apart her recent photos. She grabs her camera and heads out into the protest.

Meanwhile, model named Kendall Jenner (a member of the spectacularly untalented Jenner clan) is posing for a photo shoot. A cute protestor, who brought his cello to the protest (oh, that old cliche), winks at Jenner, who immediately decides to abandon the photo shoot and join the protest. The protestors run into a line of impossibly handsome, completely unarmed police officers. Jenner barges to the front, gives an impossibly handsome cop a Pepsi. He pops open the can, takes a gulp, and the crowd celebrates wildly.

I swear it is one of the most unintentionally funny things I have ever seen. Please watch it.

The blowback was swift, and Pepsi pulled the ad, apologizing to Jenner. Apologize to Jenner? They should have apologized to us.  (Jenner, meanwhile, says she is “traumatized” by the online reaction, which was exactly the kind of reasoned, intelligent reaction you expect from the internet.) What’s most amazing to me is that this shockingly terrible commercial — which must have cost Pepsi several million dollars — must have gone through dozens of approval levels, and no one stopped to say, “Man, this is really, really terrible.”

Psst. Did you hear about Daryl Katz?

Edmonton Oilers owner and local billionaire, who is famously publicity shy, is in the news this week. A Brazilian actress/model, Greice Santo, claims Katz offered her $20,000 per day to see her up to six times a month. Apparently, she took offence ($20Gs not enough?). Santo and her husband, R.J. Cipriani, launched a defamation suit in New York against Katz. This is an interesting tactic — announce that you have been defamed, then become the first person to spread the defamation. Katz’s lawyer says it all a shakedown. You can read about it here — but you haven’t been able to read about it in the Edmonton Journal, which has studiously avoided any mention of it since the story broke on CBC on Thursday.

And in business news …

At the end of Monday’s stock exchange trading, Tesla, the maker of electric cars, reached a market capitalization of $48.7 billion compared with Ford’s $45.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. General Motors was at $51.2 billion … the end is near for Payless Shoes. The American retailer announced that is is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it will be immediately closing nearly 400 stores as part of the reorganization. It has over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries and was founded in 1956.

RIP

imgres
Mr. Warmth

Don Rickles, 90, the great insult comic. Rickles was a beloved figure in the comedy world, and nobody loved him more than Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night host gave an emotional tribute to his friend on Thursday night’s show. Rickles was truly the last of a breed of comic, an old-school guy who could get by with trading in ancient ethnic stereotypes, and still be funny. The key to the enduring success of Rickles, and the fact that so many comedians idolize the guy, is that he was of a certain generation (he was a WWII vet) who could say anything, and get away with it. How did he do it? I think it was mainly because there was no venom in the insults; you knew that Rickles didn’t believe a word he was saying. And it helped that he was hilarious. For Netflix subscribers, I recommend a documentary called Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project  … Joe Harris, 89, a commercial illustrator who drew enduring cartoon characters including the Trix cereal rabbit and Underdog. (He also wrote the line: “Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids.”)

 

The Return of Stuff Happens, week 11: Seriously, Conservatives, THIS is the best you can do?

The Conservative leadership race passed a critical milestone this week, with the cutoff for new party memberships. It was also an opportunity for any of the 14 — yes, that’s FOURTEEN — candidates to come to what little sense they have and drop out.

unknown
Montgomery Burns

And as of this writing, no one has. Fourteen people, all of whom think they can win the leadership of Canada’s no. 2 political party. Surely, there has to be someone injecting a dose of reality to at least half of the fourteen. Isn’t there someone telling Deepak Obhari that he’s wasting his time? Apparently, sadly, not.

So, who’s the front runner? Hard to tell. Kevin O’Leary, the reality TV show star and part-time Canadian, is sucking up most of the oxygen. He’s a great talker who just oozes confidence (a.k.a arrogance), but he’s shockingly ignorant of how the government works. He said this week he would use the “notwithstanding” clause of the constitution to send those seeking asylum back to the U.S. It took about four seconds for experts to weigh in with the fact that the “notwithstanding” clause cannot be used in that kind of situation. He also launched a blistering tirade against Rachael Notley. He vowed to “go to war” against her, calling her the “nightmare dark lord”, calling her economic plan “deranged madness”, calling her a “toxic cocktail of mediocrity and incompetence.”

Like I said, he’s a great talker. But this kind of talk is not befitting to a potential leader of a Canadian political party. It would work well with Republicans — and did — but it won’t fly here with the vast Canadian public.

O’Leary claims to have signed up 35,000 new members. The vile Kellie Leitch, who would destroy the Conservative party if she won, claims 30,000 members.  But does this mean they’re the leaders in the leadership race? Nope, because the leadership race rules are like a maze with no exits. Here are the rules, which I just copied and pasted from the web since I can’t really figure them out.

Instead of ‘one member, one vote,’ every riding in the country is allocated 100 points no matter how many members they have, and the points are allocated based on the share of the vote a candidate gets. They need a minimum of 16,901 points to win.

On top of that, members don’t have to just vote for one candidate. It’s a ranked ballot, so members can select up to nine names from the list of 14, which means it’s likely to take more than one ballot to choose a winner on May 27.

So, with this system, nobody knows who is leading. What’s for certain is that a Kevin O’Leary-led Conservative party would be a disaster. The blueprint for destroying O’Leary was written, with delicious irony, by the Stephen Harper Conservatives. When Michael Ignatief took over the Liberal party after years spent out of the country, they labeled him ‘Just Visiting’. O’Leary is, if anything, more of a tourist.

unknown-3
Kellie ‘Canadian values’ Leitch.

How about a Kellie Leitch (left) Conservative party? It would be a smouldering ruin after the next election, if it got that far. She had to explain why she was videotaped meeting with members of a radical anti-Muslim group this week, and her explanation was weak.

Then there’s Maxime Bernier, who is the Ron Swanson of Canadian politics, a government employee who hates government. His brainstorm this week was to use the Canadian Armed Forces to stop the flood (actually, trickle) of would-be refugees fleeing Donald Trump’s America. There are 6,416 km of border between Canada and the U.S., almost all of it unguarded. We have about 64,000 men and women in uniform, so things are going to be stretched pretty thin. And I don’t know if having a soldier standing guard in a deserted field between Manitoba and Minnesota is the best use of a soldier’s time.

There are reasonable, moderate, even electable candidates in this race (God, I hope so), and I deeply hope the Conservatives find one. A strong, functioning democracy needs strong parties and intelligent, electable leaders. If the Tories make a mistake in their leadership choice, then we’re in for many many years of one-party rule, and we all know how well the Liberal party handles unfettered power.

Carbon tax update

As you may recall, at the start of the year I received from the benevolent Rachael Notley a cheque for $150 as my rebate for her newly-instituted carbon tax (the actual name of it is the Alberta Climate Leadership adjustment rebate, a name which is clearly the product of an advertising agency). I mused at the time that it was ridiculous to give a rebate for money not yet spent; I thought creating the term ‘prebate’ would really catch on, but alas, it hasn’t. I also decided to keep careful track of how much the carbon tax has cost me and tally it up compared to how much I have received from the government. So now, with the first three months of the year over, I present my Carbon Tax Prebate Quarterly Report.

As you may recall from one paragraph ago, I started $150 to the good. Over the past three months, I kept track of every litre of gas purchased and every gigajoule of natural gas used, and tallied up the cost. The gasoline tax is 4.49 cents per litre, and the natural gas tax is $1.011. So far, the carbon tax has cost me $49.87, which means I’m still almost $100 to the good. So not only have I not cut back my consumption in any way, I have been rewarded for doing nothing. Love this carbon tax prebate!

RIP

Richard Nelson Bolles, 90, American writer famous for What Color Is Your Parachute? (Death, apparently, was on holidays this week.)